Neighbors cried and prayed Wednesday night as they came together to forgive themselves for not knowing about a 10-year-old Kansas City girl, their neighbor, forced to live in a closet.
“I want our community to come out of mourning,” said Randall Gilmore Sr. “Mothers are crying because they thought it was something they missed.”
Gilmore, who lives in the neighborhood where the girl was found Friday, urged residents to remember that the child known only as “LP” survived the abuse and neglect.
“We’ve got something to shout about. We didn’t lose this baby,” Gilmore said.
LP was found after an anonymous caller phoned the Missouri state hotline to report that a little girl was forced to live in a closet and go to the bathroom there.
The child’s mother, Jacole Prince, 29, is charged with assault, abuse of a child and endangering a child’s welfare.
It’s unclear how long the girl had lived in the closet, but investigators said it was a substantial amount of time.
About 50 people gathered at the housing complex near 13th Street and Highland Avenue where the girl lived. Many said they have cried for days.
Kayla Borders said she can’t stop thinking about the child, who weighed 32 pounds when police found her and was all alone in the apartment. She wonders what the road ahead will be like for the little girl and her two sisters, who are in state protective care.
“That baby is going to have to have extensive, extensive care,” she said.
Gilmore urged those gathered not to dwell on the negative. His words came as children clung to their mothers just before bedtime.
“All these babies around here need us to stay positive,” Gilmore said.